UK Pension Transfer Advice for Expatriates in France

Does your UK pension/s offer the following?

100% Access to your fund

The majority of UK personal, or employer-based, pensions are restricted in terms of access via lump sums and the levels of drawdown.Typically, one receives an initial lump sum, with the remainder to follow at a specified rate of drawdown.

In reality, the so-called pension freedoms introduced under George Osborne in 2015 could not all be put in to practise. Crucially, in terms of flexible drawdown, many UK pension schemes simply cannot implement this – even several years later. Thus, one is tied down to a limited lump sum and gradual, possibly restricting, levels of pension income.

There are various routes to achieving 100% access, typically via a transfer to a SIPP, or indeed a QROPS in some cases.

Though certain criteria still applies, full access via a SIPP is attainable from the age of 55, and again the same applies for certain QROPS schemes.

In basic terms, full access enables exactly 'what it says on the tin'. Lump sums being available as needed, accompanied by uncapped levels of income within the value of your pension plan.

True flexibility and access to 100% of your pension assets are attainable, why not get in touch today to discuss your options with a qualified and experienced pension expert?

Tax-efficiency on your income

It is vital that you understand your tax position when it comes to drawing on your pension. What does it mean to be a non-UK resident, perhaps in France, with a UK pension?

Tax-efficiency is a vital way that we can protect our pension income. Taxes and charges will erode the value of our scheme, it is crucial that we understand our tax position.

As a resident of France, you adviser is able to help you to understand your tax position, and assist you in exploring any beneficial options.

Generosity won’t last forever

Under Defined Benefit (final salary schemes), we have recently been experiencing way above the norm transfer values. Pressure on schemes to meet liabilities, combined with an ongoing period of low interest-rates, seems to have created a desire to cut-off pension members – let them take their accumulated assets thus far, and go!

The specifics, and generosity across one scheme to another will vary, though – in general, even the Pensions Regulator has commented on transfer values being “too generous”.

Defined benefit schemes

Should you currently be an existing member of a UK Defined Benefit (final salary) pension then you should consider very carefully prior to giving up the so-called ‘guaranteed benefits for life’.

However, for those wishing to transfer-out, for various reasons, should act rather quickly as most industry experts believe the generosity will likely soon come to an end, whilst some schemes have banned transfers altogether.

Get in touch today to sum up your options!

Pass on 100% of your pension

UK pension schemes are generally designed with a view to providing an income for life, though what happens afterwards? Many schemes will offer reduced benefits to loved ones, perhaps between 50% - 70% of the remaining fund value to a surviving spouse, whilst non-dependant children might receive 0% of assets.

A transfer to a SIPP, or QROPS, ensures that you pass on 100% of remaining assets to your loved ones.

Why not talk to us today?

Don’t let scheme deficits bring you down

Defined Benefit (final salary schemes) have traditionally been based upon the notion of ‘guaranteed benefits for life’. Yet deficits have become an all too prominent feature of many schemes.

Many UK Defined Benefit (Final salary) pension schemes are in deficit. Some major corporates which have immense, and perhaps irreversible, pension deficits include the likes of BT, BAE and IAG …… whilst Carillion (among others) have disappeared altogether.

The process of transferring-out to a SIPP or QROPS is a sure fast way to eliminate such risk in future deficits and corporate insolvencies.

Avoidance of Currency fluctuations

If residing in France, you may wish to consider the value of the Pound Sterling. The majority of UK pension schemes can only be valued in GBP whilst assets within a SIPP or QROPS can be held in numerous currencies.

This can be advantageous if retiring abroad, or simply looking to utilise your pension monies in the likes of France perhaps.

Via a SIPP or QROPS, you have the advantages of being able to diversify your pension fund across a number of currencies. In the case of France specifically, we see many clients opting to hold USD and / or Euro's these days given the weak and relatively unstable GBP.

One overall pension vs multiple smaller schemes

Many people’s UK pension assets comprise of multiple schemes. The consolidation of these in to one cost-effective, tax-efficient, flexible and accessible scheme offers an attractive proposition, and brings peace of mind to those of us living abroad.

Trying to make sense of multiple UK pensions whilst living in France, and attempting to consider where they are best placed etc. could represent a logistical nightmare!

We can help you make sense of things, and explore your options...

Get in touch today ...

What are the risks of transferring your pension?

You are initially protected by the fact that a UK pension may only be transferred to an alternative pension scheme which satisfies UK Government recognition and approval.

SIPP’s and QROPS are popular choices for those transferring their UK pensions, whether from personal (Defined Contribution), or employee/final salary (Defined Benefit) schemes.

A SIPP (self-invested pension plan) is regulated in the UK, and offers key attractions including 100% access to funds, better known as ‘flexible drawdown’.

Your adviser will help you examine any DTA’s (Double Taxation Agreements) in place between France, or your place of residence, and the UK.

QROPS (Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes) are given their status via having UK Government Recognition.

Popular jurisdictions include offshore locations such as the Isle of Man, Malta, and Gibraltar and so forth.

Once again, DTA’s are an important consideration in the choice of jurisdiction when transferring.

Therefore, any potential associated risks come from the failure to choose the most advantageous alternative scheme, and the choice of funds/investments within the new plan.

Upon transfer, if choosing to take any lump sums and income but essentially leave the new pension in place (as opposed to taking everything at once), you have the choice of selecting your own investments, or alternatively we can help you put together a diversified portfolio utilising world-leading fund managers and investment houses, with a strategy based upon your individual requirements including levels of flexibility and a consideration of your attitude to risk

Please visit our Asset Management page for more information on investing and more info on SIPP’s and QROPS.
See our UK pension transfer page for the following
  1. The process of a uk pension transfer
  2. A case study & step-by-step process of a transfer
  3. What is a SIPP?
  4. What is a QROPS?
  5. After transfer, how and where would my fund be invetsed?

   And other useful FAQ (Frequently asked Questions).

Get in touch today!

Useful links: 

Specialty Advice, is committed to helping protect the public from pension scams.

Always consider the transfer of your pension very carefully, and make sure that you understand all implications of transferring, including the associated costs, along with any potential risks.

Ensure that you are making an informed decision.

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 "acting with the highest ethical standards and integrity" and "acting in the best interests of each and every client"